Today in intriguing poultry news: Eat This, Not That reports that KFC has been quietly working on plant-based chicken strips. The fried chicken and absolutely delicious coleslaw chain announced the plant-based product is close to launching, though there’s no confirmed date on its release yet.
Per Eat This, Not That, the menu item has been in the works for more than three years now. KFC is now putting the final touches on the product and gearing up for the national release; meanwhile, KFC CEO Kevin Hochman told Fortune that plant-based chicken is a growing asset for the fast food market.
The KFC version isn’t strictly an in-house development, so there’s no proprietary plant chicken here. The product is reportedly a collaboration with Beyond Meat, whose plant-based chicken product is already on the market. Per Eat This, Not That, KFC already tested plant-based nuggets in 2019 and 2020. This current project centers on plant-based tenders and strips. The main issue, aside from flavor, is reproducing the experience of eating a chicken strip, which is distinctly different from a nugget. I’m picturing a plant-based version that has the grain of chicken breast, which is probably the part that’s hard to mimic.
We’ve been keeping our own tabs on plant-based chicken, and it looks more and more likely that the next iteration of the chicken sandwich wars could be plant-based. There are even entire chains starting up around vegan chicken, like Project Pollo in Texas. Hey, if the vegan stuff can mimic dark meat, I’m in. I’ll double down if you can nail a fake chicken skin, but I think that’s a while off. I’m a meat eater, but I like messing with my protein cravings by tossing in vegan substitutes now and then. As long as I can get my coleslaw fix, I’m golden.